War and Clothing?
This week Cambodian apparel workers, who for several weeks were participating in peaceful strikes to demand better pay, were caught in escalating violence by riot police. The war-like image above is hard to grasp that such violence and the death of at least three people is the result of poor pay for the clothing we wear.
Cambodia boasts some of the cheapest prices for labor in Asia. The apparel industry is a major revenue stream for the country at over $5 billion per year. Currently these workers earn at the minimum wage $80/month. They are requesting upwards of $160/month, a proposal dismissed by the government as unsustainable. What is more unsustainable - growth, war or the life cycle of our clothing?